It’s still warm in Texas. I wish you can magically entice nippy weather to come and stay awhile by eating perfect for fall dishes, kind of like a culinary rain dance for the seasons. I previewed the scrumptious fall menu at Max’s Wine Dive as their guest with Austin Food Magazine, Jane of A Taste of Koko, and Ane from Hungry Chronicles. Though it didn’t make our weather cooler, the menu was perfectly curated for fall. Lobster made welcomed appearances on their menu with Lobster Pot Pie, Lobster Risotto Balls, and Lobster Mac and Cheese. We also had their luscious bone marrow, their homey Pot Roast, and nostalgic Salisbury Steak over mashed potatoes. Not pictured but worth a mention was the beautiful baked brie!
Everything was delicious but I fawned over the lobster pot pie and lobster mac and cheese the most. I’d eat them both every day for a week if my doctor signed off on it!
As Social Chair of Austin Food Bloggers Alliance, I organize monthly happy hours around Austin for our members. For a special occasion, we invited other influencers who don’t necessarily have blogs but still cover the local food scene on Instagram. Prohibition Creamery generously provided a sexy venue and boozy ice cream for our first Instagram mingle!
Prohibition Creamery featured their Black Magic, Spooky Dough, and Sangria Sorbet. It was infatuation at first bite with Black Magic, which had chocolate liquor, activated charcoal, and coconut ash with a charcoal waffle. I couldn’t get enough of it and plan on coming back again soon. I also sampled the Mezcal Vanilla; there was nothing vanilla about the Mezcal Vanilla!
If you’re feeling extra indulgent, chase your alcoholic ice cream with handcrafted cocktails or wine. The sinful possibilities at Prohibition Creamery make it perfect for date night.
I call that last shot “Bloggers in the Wild”.
Takeaway tips: Did I mention the Black Magic? Get the Black Magic and the Mezcal Vanilla.
Follow my eating adventures and happenings on Instagram. You can also see what is catching my attention in the food world on Twitter and Facebook.
On work days, I typically keep prep and cook time of breakfast to less than 10 minutes. It’s usually something easy like an egg sandwich or hash browns with an over-easy egg. This week I felt motivated to transform a mundane Tuesday breakfast to a special treat by making Chorizo Quiche with a Hash Brown Crust. I normally use ham or ground sausage for my breakfast quiches, but Sugarface voted for chorizo and I am a chorizo fangirl! Having never made a chorizo quiche before, it also added a touch of novelty to our special breakfast. To save myself some sleeping-in time, I baked the crust the night before. This meant this delicious Chorizo Quiche with Hash Brown Crust only required an extra 30 minutes of getting-ready-for-work time. You can get ready for your work day as it bakes!
Chorizo Quiche with Hash Brown Crust
4 ounces chorizo, cooked
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
3 cups shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup shredded cheese (I used haberno jack)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: Sour cream for serving, and small handful of diced green onions for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie dish with melted butter.
Press the hash browns into the bottom of the the dish and along the sides to form the crust.
Lightly season the hash browns with salt and pepper.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
While the crust is baking, mix chorizo, half & half, cheese, and onions in a mixing bowl.
When the crust is done, lower the oven temperature to 350.
Pull out the crust, pour the egg mixture into the crust, and put the pie dish back into the oven.
Bake for an additional 35 minutes or until the the quiche is puffed and light golden brown.
Garnish with green onions and serve with sour cream.
How have you made a mundane day feel special?
Tell me in the comments!
Follow my eating adventures and happenings on Instagram. You can also see what is catching my attention in the food world on Twitter and Facebook.
Sugarface had a work thing in Toronto and I couldn’t resist tagging along even if just for a weekend. I spent less than 48 hours in Toronto which was enough to know a couple of things for certain. First, Toronto is such a hot food destination. And an obvious second, two days isn’t enough to even scratch the surface!
What follows is a recap of our meals. We stayed downtown and our meals were walking distance from our hotel. I didn’t photograph most of these places because of poor lighting, which frankly bummed me out. But the memory will live on through this post regardless!
177 Dundas Street W, Toronto, ON M5G 1C7
By the time we arrived to our hotel, we were running on four hours of sleep and starving. We walked by Gyugyuya on the way to our hotel, and noted the lunch crowd despite it being late into the afternoon. Sugarface got the beef bowl which is their namesake, and I got the fried chicken with egg. Both were served over rice in cozy bowls with generous portions. We happily tucked into our bowls and enjoyed sampling the other’s order.
I have an internet friend for about six years and hadn’t met him in person. Tom saw one of my Toronto updates on Facebook and a few hours later I was able to meet him for the first time! I was still full on Gyugyuya but was looking for something I could nibble on while Tom grabbed a drink. I ordered the Posh Tots (duck fat tater tots) and still think about them. Tater tots are one of most favorite things. I have many college memories of dinners made up solely of tater tots. After our friendship date, Tom and I took a photo outside of Friar and Firkin to commemorate our meeting.
When collecting recommendations from locals, Bar Raval kept getting mentioned. A popular and lively traditional tapas restaurant with a beautiful bar interior that is reminiscent of Gaudí. The croquettes might be one of my favorite bites from the entire weekend, the filling was the creamiest filling I’ve ever had in a croquette. We scored a table on the patio and it reminded me of our time in Barcelona, where we ate most of our meals outside the month before.
I was cozy in bed past midnight at our hotel with a hankering for Chinese. We were told to experience the Chinese food in Toronto after all. Hong Shing was open and delivered to our hotel. I will always think fondly of their beef noodle stir-fry. Eating delicious food in a soft king-size bed with your boo while watching cable? Perfection.
It rained all day Saturday and ducking into Pai for Thai curry before exploring Graffiti Alley felt like the right thing to do The underground restaurant had a whimsical vibe. We sat at the bar and I loved the twinkling lights. I ordered the green curry with fish and ate every last drop of the milky broth. The fish was delicate and lovely. Sugarface ordered the Khao Soi (with chicken) Soup, with fresh egg noodles in a golden curry topped with crispy noodles. If I lived in Toronto, I can see Pai as one of my regular hangouts.
On our way to the train station on my last morning, we wanted to stop by this pierogi place but they ended up being closed. On our walk to the original destination, we were reflecting on our short weekend together in Toronto and how one of our regrets was we didn’t eat poutine in Canada. We had tried to grab it before eating at Bar Raval while waiting for our phone call from the wait-list but they called us right after we made it to Smoke’s, a beloved local poutine establishment. Happy accidents led us to Loose Moose Tap & Grill for our last meal. It’s situated upstairs and on top of and their sister restaurant, Antler, another highly recommended establishment. I was so pleased to learn they have the same menu! Not only did we get to cross off Antler for our list of recommendations, but there was poutine on the menu. We did it! We ate poutine in Canada! It wasn’t the simple traditional poutine but close enough. Their loaded poutine was the perfect last meal in Toronto. I also toasted the weekend by drinking a Caesar, which is like a Bloody Mary but Canadian and better.
So that was my short weekend of meals in Toronto. Have you ever been? If so, where did you eat?
On our third day in Barcelona, we tried getting into the Picasso Museum, which is free the first Sunday of the month but the line was so atrociously long, we figured we could just spend the day wandering in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. I loved taking in the architecutre and narrow alleyways. We made up for Picasso Museum by exploring the Barcelona City History Museum or Museu d’Història de la Ciutat, which provided a modern gateway to the expansive catacombs of Barcelona. The labyrinth-like Roman ruins were a wonder to explore underneath the city!
After we left the undergrounds of Barcelona and when sundown approached, we remembered our friend Amy recommended the bombas at Tapas 24. Bombas are fried potato balls, only three of my favorite things. We walked to Tapas 24 and found a line out the door. It moved pretty quickly and we made friendly conversation with the Dutch family in line after us. They vacation to Barcelona every few years and it was a 1300 km drive. It took them about 14 hours!
Tapas 24 will forever be my first experience of tapas in Spain. We ordered the bombas, the inspiration of our meal and enjoyed them. Again, what’s not to enjoy about a fried potato ball? We followed the balls with a classic and popular tapas dish, the patatas bravas, fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and aioli.
We also ordered the bikini sandwiches. These pressed ham and cheese sandwiches are a Catalonian dish and its namesake is the Bikini concert hall in Barcelona. The bikinis we ordered from Tapas 24 had a black truffle spread, which made them even more indulgent than the usual gooey ham and cheese sandwiches.
Then we went with two restaurant specials. Lamb skewers and the deep fried hake. Lamb skewers were a nice meaty counter to the potatoes and starches. Wonderfully seasoned and tender.
Finally, I’m glad the deep fried hake came out last, as it was my favorite dish from our evening. Listed on the menu as fried, I envisioned a battered and deep fried fish, but the hake was lightly seared so the fish was delicately undercooked. It melted in my mouth and reminded me of pork belly. I giggled in glee when I ate the hake lettuce wrap.
We were seated outside next to the sweet Dutch family I mentioned earlier. They were kind enough to snap a photo of us!
Stay tuned. More about tapas elsewhere next blog post!
One of Austin’s beloved chicken establishments has expanded not only their menu but also their locations! Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon just opened a new location on South 1st. Their grand opening is tomorrow and I got a sneak peek of their menu with Austin Food Magazine. New menu features more wood-grilled meats than their original two chicken dishes, adding steak and bass, full bar with sweet cocktails, more vegetable sides, and a seasonal dish. Hurry because the current seasonal dish was my favorite bite from our delicious feast! Keep reading to see what it is and enjoy the food porn! The light was juuuussst right.
We started off with drinks. I opted for the avocado margarita because trying an avocado margarita has long been on my bucket list. It was as creamy and refreshing as expected. Also sipped on the sangria because I already miss Barcelona.
Then we noshed on chips and all the dips as we mulled further over the menu. They have traditional guacamole, a queso guacamole, and an interesting summery green apple guacamole. We went with the green apple guacamole which also had jicama and pineapple to add texture and more tang. I loved drizzling their smoky salsa over a chip already dipped in queso. That’s a chorizo queso pictured, by the way.
We decided to be good adults and order vegetables, cheesy cauliflower, grilled beets, and kale. Cauliflower and beets may be my favorite veggies in general. The aioli dip for the grilled beets added a decadent touch.
For our meat course, we split the signature chicken and bass. Tender and smoky with a nice zest from the lime. Complemented the black beans and rice so well.
The seasonal item made a fashionably late entrance to our table but the added drama ended up highlighting my favorite bite of an already delicious meal. The shrimp tostadas! Hurry before they stop serving it. If you’re a fan of shrimp and avocados, it’s the perfect summer appetizer!
I’m so happy for Fresa’s Chicken’s new space and venture. It promises to be a great neighborhood hangout with their new menu and beautiful dog-friendly and kid-friendly patio.
You can’t visit Spain and not try sangria, jamón ibérico, and paella. You just can’t. Sugarface and I knocked off all three must tries at 7 Portes during our week in Barcelona. Our Airbnb host, a Barcelonian local, cited 7 Portes as the purveyor of her favorite paella. I’m so happy we heeded her advice because our dinner there tied for my favorite meal in Barcelona, a great feat given that I enjoyed everything I ate in the city!
We started with orders of beer, sangria, and this delicate and heavenly plate of jamón ibérico and melon.
We followed with a grilled variety of squid, all cooked to the perfect texture.
Lastly, the main reason why we came, the paella! There were a few different kinds you can order. I picked the Rich Man’s Seafood Paella, which comes with a variety of seafood.
Our server, also a a store window designer by trade, did such a beautiful job plating our paella that I couldn’t resist another capture. That’s a baby lobster tail, as darling as it was tenderly delicious.
I loved how all the dishes complemented each other in their depths and flavors. The jamón and melon, so thinly sliced, they almost melted in our mouths. The grilled squid was subtle and light in flavor. And finally the paella with its comforting and heavy richness. Combine these dishes with fine weather, dining under romantic twinkle lights, a handsome dinner date, and a day spent sightseeing on our first bike ride together? It’s almost too much!
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Yesterday, I met my little from Big Brothers and Big Sisters for our monthly date. We’ve been together for 8 years and our favorite dates are mostly just catching up over food! She wanted something sweet and I’ve been on a green tea dessert kick. I suggested we try cream puffs from Cream Whiskers, mostly because I heard they had a matcha flavored cream puff. I think I’m on a new mission to find all the green tea desserts available in Austin.
Located near the University of Texas campus, Cream Whiskers is a cozy nook serving cream puff desserts and teas and coffee. You can choose the traditional puff tops or a cookie top. We both opted for the traditional puffy tops. I went with their matcha option and my little ordered the Cookies & Cream. The puffs are made to order and whimsical! I felt like I was consuming dreamy clouds of sugar!
Matcha Azuki with a red bean paste, $4.99
Cookie N’ Cream, $4.99
Question: How do you feel about matcha or green tea as a dessert flavor?
Sometimes I’m late to the party. I’m a child of the 80s and 90s and have not seen The Goonies. I got a smartphone years after they were a thing and I only just started Snapchatting. Another late arrival of mine is Barley Swine. I’ve heard almost unanimously great things about Barley Swine. In fact, so many of my close friends whose palate preferences are aligned with mine sang praises of Barley Swine, that I sometimes recommended Barley Swine to people without having been myself. I just knew I’d probably love it, especially since I’m already a fan of their sister restaurant, Odd Duck.
My friends Thomas and Dawn must have found it peculiar that I still haven’t been and gifted me a gift card to Barley Swine. I decided the best occasion to use this gift was on my one and a half year anniversary with Sugarface! We both went for the first time and I delighted in every bite.
We started with the Chilled Peach Soup with Chèvre and Fennel (not pictured;$8) which was refreshing. The chèvre was a nice counter to the light and sweet peach flavors.
Shiitake pasta; with scrambled egg and summer squash; $12
We followed the soup with another delicate dish, the Shitake Pasta. I recommend popping a whole dumpling in your mouth. The subsequent burst of shitake broth will delight you. I enjoyed seeing Sugarface’s eyes light up after the perfect bite of this.
Pig skin noodles; with hot sauce, almond, shrimp dumplings; $12
Mmm. I liked the saucy pig skin noodles. Though, if you’re sensitive to gelatinous textures, these noodles may not be for you.
Parsley Croissants, with bone marrow, $12
Getting the parsley croissants was a no-brainer for us since we both love flaky croissants so much and I grew up indulging in bone marrow. These croissants were flawless and I’ve never had bone marrow prepared almost like a mousse like that! Those croissants though. I wish they would sell them in a bag to take home!
And the last course was a strong finish. The sausage with crunchy wheat berries grounded the whole meal.It was as if we started the meal floating on whimsy, and then slowly with each course, we coasted back to earth. I only regret taking this long to make it to Barley Swine!
This post is dedicated to my boyfriend Sugarface. Thank you for lending me your camera phone for the shots in this post, being my favorite eating partner, and patiently waiting before digging into most of our meals so I can photograph!
Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water sent me a box of Texan products and asked me to share what I love about my home, the great state of Texas. I couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to count the ways I love this state.
I once visited a friend during college in Pennsylvania and met some of her college friends from all over the country. When I shared that I was born and raised in Texas, they laughed and said they’ve noticed Texans were funny. When I inquired why, they said the only students who hung up their state flags were Texan students. This didn’t surprise me. There’s a high level of pride unmatched by other state citizens. And I’m no exception!
To further demonstrate, here are 7 things I love about the Lone Star State.
Tacos from Papalote in Austin, Texas
Because this is a food blog, food comes first on this list. I’ve traveled extensively outside of Texas and our taco game is strong, especially our breakfast tacos! Some of my out of state friends haven’t even experienced the breakfast taco! Here, they revere tacos. You never have to go very far to satisfy a craving.
Barbecue from Black’s in Austin
We’re famous for our smoked meats and barbecue sauce. In fact, you can now buy award-winning Texas barbecue sauce online if you don’t live here. Which brings me to 3.
3. Local Products
In the gift box from Ozarka, I was happy to see three Texan brands I already admire. I grew up on Ozarka water and Ozarka water delivery and never knew they source from three Texas springs! The other two brands I was familiar with were Yellowbird Sauce, which is great on tacos and eggs, and Snow’s BBQ Sauce, named best barbecue sauce in Texas by Texas Monthly. I broke into both sauces and made breakfast tacos with pork butt. I had my tacos with a bag of flavorful Paqui Tortilla Chips, also gifted in Ozarka’s sample box.
Other products included that I’m excited to sample are: Taste Elevated‘s Sweet & Spicy Mustard Seeds – flavor-packed pearls just tender enough to burst in your mouth Jelly Queen’s Black Garlic Rosemary BBQ Sauce -handmade in small batches using organic ingredients Cookwell & Company‘s Queso – cheddar and blue cheeses combined with fire-roasted tomatoes, onions, diced jalapeños, and lime juice
4. City Lights
If it’s urban attractions you’re drawn to, Texas delivers on that too. One of my favorite pastimes is finding pretty cityscapes and photographing them at night. You see, we’re not all desert and country roads.
Speaking of desert, people don’t think lush when they think Texas but there are plenty of pretty views you can drink with your eyes. We have beaches, deserts, lakes, and mountains. I hope to visit Big Bend National Park next year when I visit Marfa, Texas again. Sugarface and I often hike with our dogs at the Greenbelt in Austin. We have beautiful waterfalls and gorgeous gorges. The amount of exploring the great outdoors in Texas you can do is countless.
6. Events and Art and Museum Culture
James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace in Houston, Texas photo by Thomas Chen
With my bestie, a Texas native, at Tout Suite, Houston TX
Last and dearest in my heart is the people of Texas. We’re a friendly group. We make eye contact with strangers and say hello. We say “sir” and “ma’am”, much to the chagrin to those who think being addressed so formally makes them feel old. We do it not to be antagonistic but because we’re raised to be polite. Really though, a good chunk of my dearest friends were born and raised and still reside in Texas. And because of that, Texas will always have my heart.